Domestic violence can be recognizable in various forms. Abusive relationships or spousal abuse are one of its most common forms of domestic violence. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, almost 20% of all marriages in America experience some degree of abuse, varying from emotional, verbal to physical abuse. Regardless of the type of abusive behavior, domestic violence is a serious crime. Prolonging these situations can lead to dangerous and even life-threatening events for individuals. In order to move forward from these situations, it is important that individuals recognize the signs of abuse as well as understand their rights.

What is Domestic Violence?

California Penal Code 13700 states that “domestic violence” is an act of abuse committed against an individual with whom they have an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship may include both married and domestic partnerships. Moreover, it defines “abuse” as, intentionally or recklessly causing or inflicting bodily harm to another. Abuse goes beyond physical actions of inflicting harm thus, it also extends to verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse.

California Is a No-Fault Divorce State

A no-fault divorce state essentially means that the spouse or domestic partner that is filing for the divorce is not required to provide a reason as to why they wanted to divorce against the other spouse or domestic partner. Hence, individuals simply need to state what is legally called an “irreconcilable difference”, which means the couple can no longer function together. Although a no-fault divorce makes it easier for victims of spousal abuse to get out of their situation, it may still be difficult due to the controlled fear an abuser has on victims. Leaving an abusive relationship may require calculated arrangements as a means to minimize harm to the individual and or their children.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

A Restraining order is an additional measure that individuals can seek to protect themselves. In California, individuals may seek domestic violence restraining orders from the court if;

The person is abused by or threatened by someone, and

  • The person who abused or threatened you is someone you have close relationships with due to;
  • Marriage or domestic partnership
  • Current or former spouse
  • Current or former relationship
  • Currently or used to cohabitate
  • Having children together

Once the court has granted a restraining order, it will be enforced nationwide. For example, if an individual received a restraining order in California and still be protected from any other state. Courts have the power to order the restrained person to;

  • Limit contact and proximity near you, your children
  • Vacate from your household
  • Pay child support
  • Pay spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation orders

Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Custody Rights

Generally, child custody is settled in court and can be shared between two parents or granted solely to one parent. Child custody aims to secure conditions that will serve the best interest of the child. In the case of domestic violence in California, courts take domestic abusers into serious account when determining child custody. Often they are restrained from having custody of minor children. Although visitation rights are required to be granted, it is only required that the courts give a reasonable amount of time. In some cases, judges might also appoint third parties or supervisors to be present during the visitation. Individuals are encouraged to consult with lawyers before proceeding in domestic violence cases if they are unsure of the impact it might have on their families.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one has been looking for a divorce, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.